Ben Pollack led one of the most potentially significant little big bands during the second half of the 1920s. However listening to his recordings can be a bit frustrating in a similar way as it is to listen to Jean Goldkette's band with Bix Beiderbecke. Pollack's music was compromised by the leader's desire to balance the jazz with commercially accessible music although he himself was a fine drummer. All of Pollack's early recordings as a bandleader are scheduled to be reissued in full (with all of the alternate takes) by the Canadian Jazz Oracle label. Volume 1 covers a nearly two-year period and is highlighted by "He's the Last Word," "Memphis Blues," "Buy Buy for Baby (Or Baby Will Bye Bye You)," and "The Whoopee Stomp" (one of three numbers released as by Jimmy McHugh's Bostonians). Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller are heard in their recording debuts and the other key players include cornetist Jimmy McPartland and trombonist Glenn Miller, plus Fud Livingston, Larry Binyon, or Bud Freeman on tenor. The 15 songs are joined by ten alternate takes (placed at the end of the CD) and virtually every selection has at least one interesting jazz solo. The best of Jazz Oracle's perfectly realized Ben Pollack CDs.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow